SUGARY drinks will be banned from hospital canteens, shops and vending machines if trusts fail to take action to reduce sales, NHS England has said.

Almost two thirds of NHS trusts have already signed up to a voluntary scheme to slash sales of sugary soft drinks, milkshakes and hot drinks with added sugar syrups, to 10% or less of all beverages sold.

But 91 trusts are yet to join the programme, and hospitals and suppliers have been warned a ban will be introduced next year if they don't take action to reduce sales by the end of March 2018.

Poole Hospital’s catering services manager Kevin Bailey said the hospital signed up to a scheme to reduce sugary drinks for sale in 2016.

“We recognise the role that a good, balanced diet plays in a healthy lifestyle, and to support this the overwhelming majority of drinks on offer to buy at Poole Hospital have no added sugar.

“We’re committed to further reducing the amount of sugary drinks on sale, in line with many other NHS hospitals.”

Andy Whittingham, head of catering operations at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, said: “We are pleased to follow both the government’s and NHS England’s guidelines on the products we sell in our canteens, vending machines and shops. In the past year we have stopped selling the 500ml bottles of high sugar fizzy drinks and have increased our range of low sugar drinks.

"We’ve also changed our crisp range to include baked items and have restricted bag sizes. We don’t promote unhealthy food near our tills and instead display a range of fruit and natural low sugar snacks. Our vending machines also stock a range of healthy items and we monitor the food and drinks on sale in our outlets."

He added: “We’re proud of what we offer here and of our Silver Standard award from the Soil Association which recognises our efforts to ensure the fresh food we serve is healthy, ethical and free from additives.”

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: "It's important the NHS practices what it preaches on healthy food and drink.

"We want 2018 to be the year when the tasty, affordable and easy option for patients, staff and visitors is the healthy option.

"Many NHS hospitals have answered the call and are taking positive action."

Some 14 national suppliers, including WH Smith, Marks & Spencer and Greggs have signed up to the NHS voluntary scheme along with 141 of 232 trusts.